APEC estimates there were 86,000 seasonal jobs in Atlantic Canada in 2019, out of more than 700,000 in Canada. This amounts to a seasonal variation in employment of 7.4% in the Atlantic region, almost double the 3.9% variation nationally.
Seasonal employment is much more prevalent in rural regions, including primary industries, seafood processing, tourism and construction.
The key challenge for seasonal employers in the Atlantic region is that their traditional workforce, most notably students and older workers, is likely to decline in the coming decades. We project a 25% decline in our rural population aged 15-64 years by 2040.
With growing reports of labour challenges in Atlantic Canada, in both seasonal and non-seasonal industries, it is also time to re-examine the role that the Employment Insurance (EI) program plays in sustaining seasonal work patterns of firms and workers.